Rockford City Council Attendance

A public life


A Ferris Bueller Parody


Published in the Rock River Times on August 23, 2006 

My Thoughts, 

Recently, the Rock River Times published an article concerning the attendance records of the Rockford city council. First off, let me clear — this cartoon is not necessarily directed at either of the Aldermen mentioned in the cartoons, but based on the information presented in the article, have the worst record for attendance.

American politics seems to be rife with absenteeism. I would give a relatively wide berth to those who are part-time, low or unpaid representatives as they don’t stand to gain as much as the "fat-cats" in Sprinfield or Washington. If you watch CSPAN you will likely find nearly empty chambers and during elections, the opposition will happily tell you how many time the incumbent failed to be present for a vote.

A political office, especially a part-time political office, can be a daunting task for the average citizen. In fact, it may be beyond the capacity of the "average" citizen (as evidenced by the number of candidates). An Alderman must balance a homelife that will be constantly interrupted by constituents, a worklife that is constantly interrupted by city business and all the other challenges in American life today. So, I respect the sacrifice that our politicians make and admire those who stand up to ethically represent us. Thank you for being there.

However, there comes a time when not "being there" becomes a burden for the constituency. Some would say that every meeting is important and that it’s the Alderman’s (Congressperson, Senator, Dog-catcher, etc.) job to attend and be engaged in the process. Every meeting IS important, but there should be an allowance for emergencies and appointments and other things that cannot be postponed or rescheduled. Ultimately, it is up to the voters to determine if their representatives are engaged and will vote accordingly. in-between elections, and everyday, our elected officials need to be cognisant of the impact their absence will have on the constiuents — both positive and negative.

If your life is so full of emergencies that you cannot meet the rigorous demands of the position at least most of the time, then it is in the best interests of the city and its’ people to step aside.

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